If you are running a small business and you are contemplating leveraging the social media networks as a way of promoting your product or service, you will find it is not as easy as getting a Twitter account and simply starting tweeting. In fact experts in the field will be the first to tell you that social media is not something you can leverage successfully without a full understanding of what you are actually doing.
In its simplest form social media is having a conversation with another person online. Much the same as chatting with your neighbour over the back fence used to be. Therefore it is not really something you can directly leverage to increase sales, but instead as a way to get your message and brand out there.
If you are a beginner in this type of media promotion perhaps the most important two things you should remember are:
- Be passionate about what you are offering and if you are employing people to manage your social media communities, make sure they are equally as passionate.
- Have conversations that are real. Listen to people and don’t dominate the conversation. You can then use what they are telling you to your advantage, if you do it right.
All this, of course, is not new, people have been communicating with each other since the beginning of time, the only difference with social media is that we are now doing it on a larger scale, without geographical boundaries.
If you are not comfortable in using social media you should consider letting someone else do it for you as your awkwardness will show, but if you are able to manage your small business communications yourself, keep in mind the following tips:
- Using Facebook, Twitter or YouTube is quite time consuming and it is imperative that you take this constraint into account. You could write off the time involved as an investment, but as in all investments, you will need to satisfy yourself that it is producing substantial returns.
- If you are using Twitter don’t simply ram your product or service down the throat of others reading your message, give your message value and become friendly in your interactions, it will help if you make a free offer of some description to gain trust.
- Offer some part of your product or service as an exclusive to be obtained only by Facebook, Twitter or YouTube users.
- Don’t centre your marketing around your social media accounts alone. Use it as part of your overall strategy, by all means, but don’t be solely dependent on it.
Social media does allow a small business to target a specific audience on a massive scale without you having to out lay a considerable sum of money in order to do so. This is the biggest advantage you have over large corporations. You also get feedback instantly which allows you to change tactics if you need to do so to better suit a changing situation, as technology is constantly being upgraded.
Tie it all in With a Blog
It would be of no benefit if you set up good plans to promote your service or product through social media without supporting it with a regular blog. A good blog can be more effective than any other social media avenue of marketing as it engages your company directly with its audience, and you can include a high standard of content in a blog. You can find your social media marketing plan lacking if you only get on social media sites such as LinkedIn, Flickr, Twitter, YouTube and Facebook without incorporating a blog as well. With a blog you can cross promote all your social media marketing strategies, as all can be shared right across the internet to your small business’ advantage.
To succeed in leveraging the social media to enhance your small business you must be patient and prepared to work hard, as although it is all rather simple, it remains demanding. If you don’t, or can’t, put the required time in, the technology will run over you and leave you lagging well behind. It is also important to have your website attractive, professional looking and easy to navigate around as if you go to all the trouble of using social media to attract people to your site, only to lose them at that stage because of its shabbiness, all your previous good work will be in vain.
While you are building your list of followers it can also be to your advantage to speak freely about your expertise. Once people start to see you as a person who knows what they are talking about and that the advice given can be trusted, you will start to see your small business prosper. It will require a leadership type of approach, while avoiding any type of salesmanship. If your audience starts to think you are simply selling, they will avoid you like the plague but if they trust what you are telling them is the truth, because they look on you as being an expert in your field, they will feel more comfortable in listening to what you have to say.
About the Author: Kristy Ramirez writes for Life Insurance Finder where she helps people to compare life insurance quotes and select the best policy to meet their needs at the best possible price.